Dangers of stalking often ignored - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Dangers of stalking often ignored

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In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, according to a press release from the Adams County Sheriff's Office. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, according to a press release from the Adams County Sheriff's Office.
ADAMS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Law enforcement offices are using the month of January to bring attention to a crime that is seldom identified and even more rarely punished. January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affect­ed 6.6 million victims in one year.

The theme, "Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.,"challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.

Stalking is a serious crime but often times is ignored or downplayed and many victims underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, according to a press release from the Adams County Sheriff's Office.

Police also say stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide, homicide of women, in abusive relationships. But this crime can have long lasting affects, even if not brought to a fatally violent encounter. Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result.

Stalking is difficult to recognize, but that's doesn't mean there isn't a way to name it when you see it. While the crime may be more obvious when it is displayed as an assault or threat, stalking can also include unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits.

"If more people learn to recognize stalking," said Sheriff Chuck Mayfield, "we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies."

The ACSO reports one in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, GPS devices, or hidden camera­as, to track the victim's daily activities. Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.

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